The increasing difficulties of dealing with Ebola
Eight Ebola health workers as well as reporters were apparently killed in an isolated settlement in Guinea in a terrifying instance of the increasing suspicion inhabitants have of outsiders arriving to help out in the medical emergency. The team had come in to do disinfection work and also to inform folks about halting the spread of Ebola, however locals initially assailed them with stones and forcing them in to the brush, before attacking them with machetes. Six locals were eventually detained. Although the exact motive for the massacre has not been verified, many the country’s residents have accused health workers of causing the illness. Complicating matters is the illiteracy in remote locations, where some locals do not think the infection even exists. Last month, in the very same location where the health workers were slain, locals rioted due to fear that people sanitizing a market were actually infecting people. This outbreak represents the worst epidemic of Ebola ever seen, with authorities cautioning that greater than 20,000 individuals might eventually be infected.
The best way to breathe
When we exercise, oxygen consumption can increase dramatically and breathing frequency can rise 4-fold. And for that, the best way to breathe has been shown to be through the mouth. The idea that one should breathe in through the nose and exhale through the mouth during exercise is just a myth. Indeed, studies have shown that more strenuous activity causes us to use both the mouth and the nose simultaneously.
The most important aspect of breathing is to use the diaphragm – a muscle that divides the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity. During breathing, the diaphragm contracts when breathing in and pushes the abdomen downwards and outwards, and this can be enhanced through training just like any muscle in the body. For example, breathing muscle training alongside regular training can improve performance significantly compared to regular training alone. Synchronized breathing with your movement is also another technique that may enhance performance but, although elite athletes practice it, it is not entirely clear if indeed there is a positive effect, and the added burden of counting breathes and making sure you are synchronized may defeat the purpose. Ultimately, it might just be best to let the body’s natural rhythm preside.
Whenever someone doesn’t eat for two hours, their blood sugar levels fall and so does their energy level. Your brain needs sugar and so do your muscles, so when your blood sugar falls, you slow down. In contrast, having too much sugar at meals can also tire you out as your blood sugar spikes after eating. As everyone knows, all vegetables are good for you but not all are made equal. Vegetables from the cruciferous family, such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower, contain chemicals that are potent stimulators of the energy factory production in the cells of your body. So the more you have of them the more energetic you should feel, or at least that is the theory anyway! If you are avoiding red meat, you could also be making yourself iron-deficient, and iron is needed for energy production. So less meat can mean less energy. Beef is the best source of iron, but you can also get it from plants such as kidney beans and spinach. However, iron from vegetables is harder to absorb and vitamin C-containing foods need to be eaten at the same time as well as avoiding tea and coffee, to enhance iron absorption in the gut. And don’t avoid all carbohydrates. Studies have shown that we are slower on memory-based tasks when carbohydrates are restricted. Also complex carbohydrates in particular provide energy as they’re digested, while protein, fat, and fiber, slow the digestion process and maintain these higher energy levels for longer.